Wagner: Das Rheingold - Adam, Hoffman, Kraus, Meyfarth, Crass; Kempe. Bayreuth, 1963
Listen to a Sample:
A rare performance from Bayreuth, this Das Rheingold features not only a stunning Wotan from Theo Adam, but three lessons in how to turn a supporting role into a major one. The first comes from Grace Hoffman’s imperious Fricka, the second from Marga Höffgen’s bone-chilling cameo as Erda. The third is from Franz Crass as Fasolt, turning in what must be unquestionably the definitive performance of Wagner’s most sympathetic antagonist. Das Rheingold has been recorded many, many times, and only a few select basses have been able to turn the love-struck Giant into a fully-fledged, well-rounded character. Crass not only manages this, but sings gorgeously throughout, culminating in a beautiful rendition of Fasolt’s lament at losing Freia. The other singers range from quite good to rather poor. Otakar Kraus’s Alberich and an attractive Rheinmaiden trio are the former, Ken Neate’s Loge and Marcel Cordes’ Donner are the later. The sound is generally quite good, though there are a few moments of distortion and tape hiss.